New Zealand PM John Key 'Confident' Malaysia Will Return Diplomat to Face Sex Charge

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New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key Smiles After the General Election in Auckland.
IN PHOTO: New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key smiles after the general election in Auckland November 26, 2011. Reuters/Stringer

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is confident Malaysia will send back the accused diplomat Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail. Although the government has not yet received any update, Mr Key assured reporters that Malaysia will comply with New Zealand's request to return Rizalman so he can face charges.

Mr Key said Malaysian authorities were not "playing games." He added Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Amanj would not have "agreed" on sending Rizalman back to New Zealand unless they genuinely intended to.

According to Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times, Rizalman was expected to be under psychiatric evaluation for a while longer. The newspaper reported it visited the hospital where Rizalman was staying and caught sight of him.

On July 1, the Malaysian government said that the accused should be allowed the legal principle of "innocent until proven guilty." In a statement, Malaysia expressed its complete faith in New Zealand's legal system and has "full confidence" that Rizalman will be given "fair treatment with dignity" as required by the law.

He reportedly appeared "dazed" and hospital staff assigned to him said he has not been sleeping and talking much. The diplomat accused of burglary and assault with intent to rape was closely watched by Malaysian military security in a CCTV-equipped area.

Reporters were told a gag order prohibited everyone at the hospital from talking about Rizalman to the media.

According to the Malaysian authorities, it would allow Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail to "cooperate fully and assist" authorities in New Zealand. The diplomat left New Zealand and went back to Malaysia after the alleged attack on a young woman in Wellington. He cited diplomatic immunity and left the country.

The Malaysian government has previously declared it is ready to provide legal assistance if necessary. Rizalman will be accompanied by a senior military officer from the defence ministry of Malaysia.

Meanwhile, reports said the 21-year-old alleged victim of Rizalman said she wanted the diplomat to face charges from the very beginning.

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